The Big Table
The first time we went to Talula’s Table, JG told his work friends all about it, and they wanted in. We decided to try for the chef’s table in the kitchen sometime in the summer, and we ended up with a date that conveniently worked as a sort of last hurrah before the school year started again. Woo hoo!
The day before our reservation, JG noticed that the Talula’s website posted an opening for their farm table for the very next day. Shortly thereafter, our contact emailed to say that if they weren’t able to fill it, we might have the chance to sit at the farm table and maybe even bring more people!
People, the farm table! The Big Table! The one that takes reservations a year in advance! One of the hardest reservations in the country! We might be able to sit at it! I hopped around in excitement. I would never reserve a year in advance, so this was our chance! Please, let us sit there!
Then I realized that if Talula’s was missing a whole reservation, and they don’t require a deposit, our sitting at the farm table meant that they lost out on over half of their revenue for the night. I didn’t really want that. The chef’s table was lovely, and it was what we had booked originally. If someone filled that reservation for the farm table at the last minute, it was the best for everyone involved.
But, oh, the farm table… I was torn.
We arrived at 7pm, still not sure where we were sitting. JG and I peeked through the door, and it seemed awfully dark. We didn’t think anyone else was there. The staff ushered us in, and I saw 6 settings at the farm table: too few for the minimum reservation and exactly our number.
To be sure, I asked Kevin (usually the Cheese Counter Guy but our server tonight), “Where are we sitting?”
“Right here.” He gestured at the farm table, as if it were obvious, which I suppose it should have been.
And then, the meal. It was amazing, as we expected. When we were here last, it was January, and the menu was completely different. This time, for the late summer menu, it was a lot of fresh produce and light sauces. It’s hard for me to say if I liked one menu better than the other because they were so drastically different.
- Golden beet ravioli with Greek yogurt, dill, and romaine
- Hash brown with smoked salmon salad and pickled red onions
- Fois gras parfait on toast with housemade plum jam and celery leaf
- Cheddar gougere
- Salted butter
- Sourdough, Bavarian pretzel rolls, multigrain bread, and brioche
- Fluke and watermelon ceviche, jalapeno, mint, and Thai basil
- Sweet onion frittata, heirloom tomatoes, and Parmesan
- Summer squash gratin, Kennett Square mushrooms, ricotta, and summer truffles
- Dixie shrimp stew, fresh okra, and hushpuppies
- Summer corn chowder, tender chicken, and Talula’s house smoked bacon
- Pan roasted swordfish, braised barbeque oxtail, and green bean slaw
- Handmade Burrata, roasted peaches and prosciutto, balsamic reduction
- “State Fair”: mini root beer float, funnel cake, caramel corn
- Chocolate espresso truffles
- Coffee and tea
- Blueberry scones to go
I think my favorite savory dish was the summer squash gratin. It’s just a very me dish, and I could have eaten a whole, uh, casserole dish of it by myself. But my very favorite thing was the wee root beer float! With housemade vanilla ice cream! I saved mine for last, and when Kevin came by to see if I was done, I very aggressively protected my plate and said quickly, “No, I’m still working on it!” DON’T TAKE MY ROOT BEER FLOAT, MAN.
As special as it was to sit at the farm table, I have to admit that I kind of prefer the chef’s table in the kitchen. This time, I felt very removed from the whole cooking, plating, and serving process, and I really enjoyed seeing all of that last time. Plus, the lighting is worlds better in the kitchen, and I struggled with taking pictures in the low light of the dining room. I was a tiny bit afraid that I’d be like, “Never again with the chef’s table!” but I’m really not. I will be just as happy, if not happier, in the kitchen whenever we book a reservation again. Because, oh, yes, we are doing this again. Maybe for my next birthday…?